The Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Foundation is changing lives for America’s newest beauty’s professionals with seven scholarship awards. Recipients of the Spring 2020 Miller Family Foundation scholarships come from around the globe – from the deserts of Iran to the plains of Wisconsin. Three years after announcing a $1M commitment to change lives, the Miller Family Foundation’s generosity is inspiring new dreams and careers. The spring 2020 winners and their respective schools and scholarships are as follows:



Mina Azimi, @_mynaglow

Katy, Texas, Paul Mitchell the School – Houston

Arnold M. Miller Find-A-Way Scholarship - $15,000

Mina’s mother inspired her to cross an ocean, relocate in America, pursue a career calling and embrace personal freedom. “In my home country of Iran, self-expression came with dire consequences and I lived in daily fear of being imprisoned,” she recalls. As a hairstylist Mina, wants to touch people’s hearts and help them express who they are. “I’ve found my way and want to make a big impact in the world,” she says.  Watch Mina’s video here.




Luis Rocha Figueroa, @the_louis_daniel

Chicago, IL, Paul Mitchell the School – Chicago

Art of Haircoloring - $5,000

Luis’s days are literally a mirror image. He spends 36 hours a week as an operations manager at Asha Salon Gold Coast and another 36 hours a week as a cosmetology student in the classroom and student salon. Fascinated by the art and science of blonding, Luis describes three of his favorite things about beauty. “First, I love how hairstylists can change a client’s self-image. Second, I love helping clients recreate themselves and third, the career options in this business are endless,” he says. But for now, he’s all about making his clients “as platinum as possible” and “the blonder the better.” Watch Luis’s video here.



Adriana Gladness, @adrianagladnesshair

Chamblee, GA, Paul Mitchell the School – Atlanta

Art of Haircutting - $5,000

Blending elements of nature with recollections of 90’s childhood programs, Adriana’s creativity draws on nostalgia from the past, vision for tomorrow and celebration of today. “My autumn has come and gone and now is my season to bloom,” she noted. “This scholarship is validation that at 32 I can work on my purpose.” While she received a haircoloring scholarship, Adriana views the haircut and color as “twins” in a symbiotic relationship. And she says the absolute best thing about her job is making her client’s feel heard. Watch Adriana’s video here.



Elisabeth Kornaros,

Fountain Inn, SC, Paul Mitchell the School – Greenville

Art of Hairdressing - $5,000

Elisabeth often found schoolwork frustrating, but even as a child, she found d creative fulfillment in styling her mannequin head. When she was diagnosed with a language processing disorder at 17, cosmetology opened up a whole new way to learn. A mentor helped Elisabeth learn natural hair techniques and taught her to assist with makeup for weddings. The aspiring master colorist states, “Seeing the unexplainable joy on a client’s face when she sees her hair color simply feels like heaven.” Watch Elisabeth’s video here.    




Juanita Thompson,

Decatur, GA, Elaine Sterling Institute

Sydell L. Miller, Total Image, $7,500

Juanita can pinpoint when she fell in love with make-up. “Doing my prom night makeup was when I fell in love with beauty,” she says. After studying managerial science, then art and design in college, and starting a business at age 22, Juanita found beauty just felt like home. “I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery, but every time God has closed a door, He has opened another bringing me closer to where I need to be,” she says. And what does she want her legacy to be? “I’m driven, dedicated and determined. I’m ready to be a trailblazer,” she says. Watch Juanita’s video here.



Sarah Riley, @Beautyby_sriley

San Diego, CA, Bellus Academy

Arnold M. Miller Find-A-Way, $15,000

No matter what life has handed her, Sarah’s response has always been to say, “We’ll find a way.” A military spouse, mom of four adopted children, student council president at Bellus Academy, tee-ball coach and neighborhood advocate, Sarah found a way to pursue her dream of a career in beauty. As a hairstylist, her goal is to create “wearable beauty” for her clients. Remarking on applying for the scholarship, Sarah says she’s always been driven. “I want to prove to my kids that I can pursue this dream and that we’ll find a way,” she says. Watch Sarah’s video here.



Kaiya Saeger, @Glam.bykaiya

Cleveland, WI, The Salon Professional

Sydell L. Miller Total Image, $7,500

Severe acne robbed Kaiya of her self-confidence as a teen, but gave her an irreplaceable gift – a passion for esthetics, skincare and make-up. As she embarks on her esthetics journey, Kaiya looks forward to integrating art, health and beauty into her career. “I’m learning the art and science that will help me nurture health, confidence and happiness in my clients,” says Kaiya. Although medication and a skin regimen helped Kaia overcome acne, she credits the condition with nurturing a desire to help others overcome their own barriers to achieving confidence. Watch Kaiya’s video here.

Ten Miller Family Foundation Scholarships are awarded annually. Sydell L. Miller, co-founder of the scholarship program along with her daughters, said the latest round of scholarship winners reflects the entrepreneurial spirit, creative drive and compassion that make professional beauty such a rewarding career. “These scholarships are helping talented beauty professionals navigate a salon landscape that is swiftly evolving yet continues to offer many beautiful opportunities for licensed professionals,” Miller said. She added, “I am grateful for how the beauty industry allowed my family and I to make a difference in the industry we love and I am excited to see how this year’s talented winners will help  make our world a more beautiful place.”

 More information is available at Remarking on the new scholarship winners, Beauty Changes Lives President Lynelle Lynch said, “In three short years, we’ve seen Miller Family Foundation scholarships launch businesses, address global beauty meetings and be featured in some of our industry’s most prestigious media outlets. We are so excited to see what these young professionals will achieve and the lives they will change as they make their mark on the professional beauty sector.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Originally posted on Modern Salon